I was recently speaking in Virginia with a very well-respected comedian speaker. This guy has some killer credits and some amazing stuff on his resume.

And he was funny. But his opening sucked. And in spite of his terrific skills, he never really one the crowd over.

So, what did he do wrong? He started slow. Really slow. It took forever for him to get to his material. Once he was introduced he slowly stood from his seat in the audience. Then he greeted the introducer. Then he walked on stage.

Do you get my point? It took forever to even get to his first word. A second here. A could of seconds there. After a while, you’re up to…. er … three seconds. (It’s a joke. But you get it… it took a while and it was boring.)

It gets worse: Once he finally got to the microphone, he looked around, took a deep breath, and finally asked, “How’s everybody doing?”

Geez. That has to be the lamest, most over used line ever. Does anybody really think he cares how we are doing? Isn’t this line a total waste of time and energy? Isn’t he better off just starting with something more meaningful? The answer is “No,” “Yes,” and a big, “Yes!”

It’s a waste of time…. get to it already!

Then he followed with a couple of banal questions… and then finally got to it.

I wasn’t watching the clock, so I have no idea how much time there was between the time they said, “Please welcome comedian ______,” and the time he actually started into his material. And sure, it wasn’t minutes. It was seconds. But it felt like forever.

His act was great. He’s a wonderful comedian speaker. And his material was really funny. But this particular corporate group was difficult. And in spite of his considerable skill and great material, he just never got them rolling. He didn’t fail. He just didn’t kill.

And I’m convinced that part of his problem was that he started so slowly.

What’s my point? If you are making a presentation large or small, think out what you are going to say first. And make sure it isn’t some totally banal such as, “Hey! How’s everybody doing?”

You can do better than that. And so can this comedian speaker I just saw fall flat in Virginia.

Now: “Hey, how’s everybody doing?”

PS. If you’re looking for a motivational speaker (whether or not you are in Virginia) who has a fast-paced, high-energy opening that gets the audience from moment one, I hope you’ll think of me. (Hey! You can’t say I’m not trying!?”) quark xpress 5.0
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